This article is an elegant discussion
of the importance of clergy in addressing vaccine hesitancy among those with doubts; they are the trusted community leaders we need right now. Click the image above to go to the article.
the article discusses UCHealth’s partnership with Shorter AME (African Methodist Episcopal) Church in Denver, with a photo of Yours Truly.
Even more amazing,
Shorter’s Fellowship Hall, where we gave vaccines, is named for Omar D. Blair, a Tuskegee Airman who went on to be a civil rights advocate. This is particularly poignant, as ALL clinical researchers at University of Colorado, and across the United States, must learn about the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment, an unfortunate chapter in the early history of medical research in the US, and a source of great distrust on the part of the black community towards American medicine.
We are therefore so grateful to develop and grow a trusting partnership between UCHealth and black churches and community centers, to fight the pandemic with our best medical tools.
A Church-based Vaccine clinic
- Some interesting ways vaccination at a Black Church is different from a vaccination on-site at a UCHealth facility.
- Most people know each other; these are strong communities; folks getting shots spend more time waving and chatting than getting nervous about a vaccine.
- Lots of church leaders guiding, comforting, coordinating a smooth vaccine clinic, alongside our UCHealth clinicians and leaders.
- As a UCHealth worker, feeling like we are invited into the inner sanctum of a close-knit extended family
When I suggest to a vaccination recipient: “You can go be observed in the chapel for 15 minutes by our nurses and doctors. However, that observation time is optional and you can leave now if you like.” The response is: “Oh, I’m going in there! I haven’t seen these folks for a YEAR! I’m gonna talk to EVERYBODY.”
Some Churches UCHealth has been to in recent weeks
PBS and Black Churches
If you missed it, PBS recently ran a special on Black Churches in American History, that is a fascinating look at how the DNA of America runs deeply through these communities (from slavery, the Underground Railroad, Civil Rights, Women’s Suffrage, Martin Luther King, and the rise of black clergy in political life). Amazing and well-told.
CMIO’s take? It is a privilege (and also the right thing to do) to partner with strong community organizations to get minorities and medically under-served communities vaccinated. It is a privilege to be part of this effort.